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Thank You HSE, For All The mEMORYs

By: Harley Semon 

On my first day of high school as a freshman, I felt so lost and nervous. Everything seemed so much bigger than middle school and I felt completely overwhelmed. I was completely lost going from class to class and had to keep asking different teachers for help. Now it is crazy to think that I could easily navigate around HSE with my eyes closed. 

From the start of my high school experience, I had always prioritized academics. The perfectionist side of me never let myself have a missing assignment or go in for a test unprepared. However, I had absolutely no clue of what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be. So in the beginning of freshman year when we had FROSH start, where the freshmen were supposed to be introduced to high school clubs, I felt totally lost. I ended up putting my name down for over ten clubs (a lot because of the candy incentives) and I had no clue which clubs I really felt passionate about. 

Navigating through which clubs to join taught me about the importance of using resources for help in high school. My sister was an active member in the newspaper club and made it sound very appealing, so I decided to attend a meeting with her. Since that moment on I have been writing articles for The Thunderbird and am so thankful for the guidance I received. 

If I could go back in time and talk to my little freshman self, I would tell myself to cherish all the time I get to spend with friends and family. The high school experience of the class of 23 was definitely different than one that most of us expected. Half of our freshman year was cut short due to COVID, sophomore year we were hybrid and only went into school every other day, and then finally in eleventh grade we were able to reunite as a class again. Being separated from my friends and classmates for an extended period of time taught me to not take memories made together for granted and to go out and experience new things when given the opportunity. 

Another thing that COVID taught me was that I have a real passion and love for writing. Since the start of my high school years, I dipped my toes into writing by becoming a writer for the newspaper club and being enrolled in creative writing electives. However, when I had so much free time on my hands due to quarantine, I started writing as a pastime. This passion of mine developed and when I started college tours in eleventh grade I knew I wanted to go to a college that had a good creative writing program. My only other requirement for college was that it was in a preferably warm location. 

I ended up falling in love with Emory University and I applied early decision and got in! I am so excited to spend my next four years in Atlanta, Georgia where I plan to pursue a major in creative writing. I also hope to become a writer for the Emory Wheel, which is the award winning student run newspaper. Using all of the experience I have gained being a co-editor in chief for The Thunderbird, I hope to bring all of my expertise and background to this new setting.   

The cycle is about to start all over again when I become a freshman at Emory in the fall. I will once again become a scared little freshman entering a brand new school. But, I will be sure to bring all of the lessons that I learned at High School East with me. I know from High School East that even though new beginnings are scary, they also come with some of the best experiences. I am so excited to see what my future holds and so thankful for High School East for being the best home for the past four years. All of the guidance and opportunities have led me on the path that I am on today. Although next year I will become an Emory Eagle, I will always be a HSE Thunderbird at heart.